Last week, I was asked to visit the Chennai branch of an MNC and lead a session with the women in their team. I went there this morning for the session. I decided to apply the tools of storytelling and doing so through digital media to the team. It was one of the most amazing experiences I had. I started with a communications game to show them how valuable and important communication is in getting your truth across, and in staying authentic to the portrayal. I then led them through listening and telling exercises, and drew from the Digital Empowerment Trainer Resources. I talked about telling one’s story, why or how digital empowerment matters, and then went on to talking to them about safety and security. I then spent some time with them as they went about writing their stories. Some of them had their laptops, so they used it to type up their stories and present them on their own blogs. I also introduced them to World Pulse and showed them some of the advantages of signing up to the forum and building their own platforms to tell their stories.
One thing I learned from this teaching:
Everyone has a story of value to tell. They just need the right resources and the tools to help them do it.
How was it to share this activity with other women?
Empowering and inspiring! It was unique because the women were inquisitive and shy at the same time, but they broke out of their moulds and began to speak effectively.
What worked well?
Telling my own story first! It is not a good idea to make others do what you wouldn’t do yourself, so I started by telling my story – so that they would be comfortable telling theirs.
What was more difficult?
Getting some of them to see the logic in telling their stories! In many women, it was so deeply ingrained that their narratives didn’t count, that the conditioning had to be deconstructed.
How could the difficulties be addressed the next time you train others?
A few more local voices that include women beneficiaries from similar trainings could speak up to help these women see the value in telling their stories.